A world without frogs
I arrive ten minutes early, knowing that it's important to make a good impression.
I'm wearing smart black trousers, a freshly pressed white shirt, and my best shoes; I spent the evening the night before the last one polishing them so I can see my face in the toes. To finish the look I'm wearing a black waistcoat and bow-tie.
Walking inside the centre I smile at the security guard, he replies through the simple gesture of scraping his knuckles along the floor. I hurry to the machine and take a ticket; it's number 247. The display counter is already showing 239, so quite optimistically I take a seat.
To pass the time I look around the centre, everywhere I see forlorn faces and despair. The customers look equally unhappy. I feel like running out, but it was Claude who recommended that I should come here. Claude knows many things; he's the saucier, and so I stay.
An hour and fifteen minutes later the counter clicks onto me. How I came to be here? I do not know it. I have learnt that the navy blue carpet has 47 equal sized grey squares in the distance between me and the advice desks, I have read several times about the requirement for me to be an EU citizen, and I have observed that the security guard's responsibility is to escort customers out of the building who become angry and abusive along with those who sit on the floor and cry. At least I can get some help now; I hope.
The advisor's name is Meryl; she looks over my papers and asks what I used to do for a living. I reply that "I was working as a waiter in a French restaurant". She smiles sadly, says that "She's so sorry", and with a pat on the back of my hand; "She can help me retrain to serve snails instead".